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Player Ratings: Liverpool 2-0 Sunderland

Liverpool

Reina 6 - Made a crucial save from the onrushing Jones in the opening minutes, but after that he wasn't put in any situations he couldn't handle blindfolded.

Mascherano 7 - The Argentine was playing at right-back and did well, although he did revert to his midfield hustler role without thinking on a couple of occasions and should have been booked for a foul on Whitehead. Otherwise, he saw a decent strike skim the crossbar.

Skrtel 6 - Not the stopper's best evening by any stretch of the imagination, but he did okay. Done by Jones just inside his own half and was lucky to see the Trinidadian fail to punish him.

Carragher 6 - Again, it must be noted that this was a quiet evening for the Reds' rearguard. He was physical with Jones early on and did what he had to do thereafter without fuss.

Insua 8 - The left-back, though, did stand out. He linked up well with Riera on the left on several occasions and was always positive, sending in a couple of decent crosses. Should perhaps have scored in the second half, screwing wide.

Benayoun 8.5 - The pick of the bunch and really making a breakthrough of late. He was positive from the off, cutting inside to good effect. Involved in a lot of creative play down the right and got into good positions, heading one wide before scoring the opener.

Gerrard 7 - The skipper did enough; we know he's not fully fit in any case. He was the first to really drive the Reds onwards, trying to play in Ngog early. Eventually assisted the youngster before he was hooked for Babel.

Alonso 6 - Tracked back well and did some grunt work as you'd expect, but his systems were malfunctioning somewhat. His passes were overhit and his shots off target.

Riera 8 - Another stand-out. The right-winger was 'Pool's first-half stand-out and came closest when his shot tested Fulop. Provided a key contribution to the opener, crossing for Gerrard. Gelled well with Insua as mentioned.

Kuyt 6 - Played deeper than normal in midfield, but perhaps lacks the vision for such a role. Did work hard, though, and was able to push up later on.

Ngog 7.5 - A game of two halves for the French starlet. He was dwarfed by the shadow of Torres early on, moving sluggishly and failing to control. However, he got going in style eventually, bagging his first Premier League goal and crossing for the second. Hooked for Lucas.

Subs:

El Zhar and Lucas both wasted good chances to make it 3-0 after coming on. Babel also replaced Gerrard and he, too, could have scored after a scintillating run.


Sunderland

Fulop 6.5 - The 'keeper was having a good game, saving well from Reina, before he spilled the ball and allowed the second goal. It was a pity.

Ben-Haim 6 - He was overly casual at times during the first half and overly aggressive at times in the second. Got into a mix-up with Fulop and was generally frustrating to watch.

Ferdinand 6.5 - Very quiet, but he put in a decent shift and made a couple of good challenges at 2-0 to prevent complete capitulation.

Collins 6 - Didn't let anyone down, but was undone by the creative Reds.

McCartney 7 - Much better, as he was always trying to make runs and give an option out wide. Pegged back at times as you'd expect, but managed to put a couple of decent crosses in.

Malbranque 5.5 - In the thick of things, but it was a roller coaster night. His first-half slip could have been costly with Riera lurking and he passed his way into trouble after the break. Hooked for Edwards eventually.

Whitehead 6 - Always willing to lead his side as captain, but he was caught in some poor positions on the tactical side. Booked late on, undeservedly.

Reid 6 - The wide-man's deliveries weren't of the highest quality during the first half. Like many of the side, he worked hard and wasn't perhaps utilised in a way which would have worried the hosts.

Leadbitter 6 - He had a very good first half, making some crucial tackles and attempting to lop Reina with a shot from just inside the 'Pool half. However, he was sacrificed for Cisse.

Richardson 5.5 - Couldn't really find his deliveries either. He picked up his game early in the second half, but sweated as Liverpool turned up the heat.

Jones 5.5 - Cut a lonely figure for long spells after wasting a glorious chance early on. Never really got over the miss and was isolated before being replaced by Murphy.

Subs:

Cisse barely touched the ball on his Anfield return, but Edwards and Murphy freshened things up.

Greg Ptolomey, Goal.com